There is a lesson in the classic film Lifeboat - and it’s a fantastic movie as well. (Wikipedia photo)

Hitchcock classic a parable for our times

‘You fools, stop thinking of yourselves, think of the boat’

There is a lesson for our times, in Hitchcock’s 1944 film masterpiece, Lifeboat.

If you’ve never had the pleasure — and for whatever reason are kicking around the house going crackers — there is at least one engrossing hour and 37 minutes of classic cinema floating around out there, should you choose to find it online.

Let us build the set.

A merchant ship is torpedoed, mid-Atlantic, by a German submarine. It’s war.

A collection of castaways falls into a lifeboat, desperate.

It’s a ragtag group; people of different ages, ethnicities, and social and economic backgrounds.

Some of them die. Most of them live.

Central to their survival is Willy, played to perfection by Walter Slezak.

The film also stars a young and Canadian Hugh Cronyn, and a considerably older but nonetheless magnificent Tallulah Bankhead.

Willy is German, the captain of the sub that sunk the ship, that launched the boat, that made the movie that earned numerous Academy Award nominations.

The particularly analogous scene, to our current situation, occurs during a gale.

The wind howls, waves breach the gunwales, and everyone scrambles to secure their belongings and each another.

Willy takes charge.

Until this moment he’s been quarantined in the stern, and no one knew he spoke or understood English.

He seizes the tiller and shouts: “You fools, stop thinking of yourselves, think of the boat!”

Under Willy’s leadership the crisis eventually passes, and he remains in command while rowing the boat towards a German supply ship.

Spoiler alert. When the suborned prisoners-of-war discover Willy is hoarding fresh water and energy pills they collectively beat him and pitch his body overboard.

The film concludes with a rescue — naturally, it is Hollywood. The viewer comes to appreciate the relationships formed on this terrifying journey, the sacrifices made, and how the experience revealed and changed each character.

So you fools, stop thinking of yourselves, think of the boat.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Social justice advocate yells at Kelowna council, demands presence at Black Lives Matter rally

Heather Friesen has again taken to council chambers to make her opinion heard

RDCO closes section of Mission Creek due to high water levels

RDCO urges visitors to respect closure signs posted at these locations until waters recede

Easter Seals shifts to virtual camps due to COVID-19 restrictions

The Lake Country summer camp is for children and adults with disabilities

Kelowna firefighters train for a technical rescue Mission Creek

Four Kelowna Fire Department technical rescue teams were on the water on Monday

Kelowna RCMP investigate early morning fatal collision

The crash was discovered in the 3100-block of Bulman Road in Kelowna around 5:30 a.m. on June 1

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

High water levels on Shuswap Lake may close popular Canoe Beach

Rain forecast could flood entrance tunnel, city staff to evaluate

189 homes in Grand Forks area given evacuation orders

Homes are in the Nursery, Grand Forks Airport, Gilpin Rd., Johnson Flats and Granby Rd. areas

Summerland man rescued following ATV accident

Helicopters used to transport injured man to Kelowna for treatment

Vernon videographer captures thunderstorm

See the ‘best bits’ of Saturday’s storm

Dyer: I left my heart in the desert

Kristy Dyer is a columnist for Black Press Media who writes about the environment

Horoscopes for the week of June 1

Weekly horoscopes by Morgan Fava

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Most Read